Thursday, June 16, 2011

When things go stale, part 2

On Wednesday, I posted a question a blog reader emailed to me. This post will be part 2 of that post. (If you missed this post, please click here).

So, how do you keep things(songs, interventions, activities,etc.), from going "stale"? How do we know when to switch things up to further benefit a student? How do we keep things fun and motivating?

Well, the definition of music therapy itself is a great place to start!

"Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program."

I think the most important thing we have to remember as music therapists, is to keep our songs, interventions and activities goal-oriented. When we strive to be goal-oriented, we design sessions in which more data can be taken. Evidence-based sessions show us what is working and what we need to adjust. Sometimes, adjusting ourselves for our students/clients can seem very challenging!

When I'm writing songs and planning for music therapy sessions with a student and/or group of individuals I ask myself these questions first:

1. What do I want them to do?
(Here you can address their goal: Will the person/group say something, move a certain way, identify something within the song, be exposed to new information and learn the vocabulary,etc.)
2. What do they need to learn?
(i.e. What do their non musical goals consist of? How many times do they have to demonstrate something to show proof of mastery of their goal?)
3. What have I observed that works with him/her,(them)?
(This could include styles of music, tempos, instrumentations, favorite music artists, favorite instruments, tolerance for certain instruments, styles of favorite songs, etc.).
4. How am I going to get them to "buy in"? What will "attract" them to this song?
(i.e. Will there be a catchy, repetitive chorus, will there be gross/fine motor movements to go along with the song, will there be instruments for certain parts of this song, will I use/design a visual aide to capture their attention,etc.).

What other ideas do you have? What helps you plan sessions that are goal-oriented?

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